Water dripping from tap
Water dripping from tap

Level 4 water restrictions will be in place from Monday

KYOGLE Council has promised to future-proof Bonalbo's water supply as levels drop and level 4 water restrictions hit the village on Monday.

Bonalbo residents will be under strict level 4 water restrictions after a steady decline in the storage level at Petrocholis Dam and the lack of flow in Peacock Creek.

The Dam is currently at around 35 per cent capacity, or 17Ml, and at the reduced consumption levels targeted by Level 4 restrictions, this will last until late April to early May without rainfall.

The new level 4 restrictions ban residents from using water for all outdoor purposes, except for the use of recycled grey water, and puts tight controls on the use of water by businesses and schools.

The restrictions will also mean the council will have to close the Bonalbo pool, with Sunday being the last day the pool will open.

It will remain closed while Level 4 restrictions are in place.

Kyogle Shire Council General manager Graham Kennett assured residents the council was working closely with State Government to "make sure preparations were in place in case the water supply reaches emergency levels".

"We ask that residents be conscious of their water usage and work will us to get through this period until we get sufficient rain to lift the restrictions," Mr Kennett said.

To future proof water supply levels, Kyogle Council Mayor Danielle Mulholland revealed the council would be using the $2m Drought Communities funding to drill a bore at Tabulam and Bonalbo "as soon as possible".

"Water is a basic human right … we don't know when this drought is going to break. We are hoping they are right and we get rain in February," Mayor Mulholland.

"Until it rains, we need to be looking at innovative solutions to combat this, and we are along with other councils in the same boat."

Under Level 4 restrictions, water carters will no longer be able to fill up from the Bonalbo town water supply.

But licenced water caters can still supply people in the area but will need to source water from Casino, or Kyogle.

"People looking to buy bulk water can still purchase water from Kyogle, just not from the Bonalbo supply," Mr Kennett said.

Mr Kennett said closing the Bonalbo pool was unfortunate but an essential move for council to meet water supply targets.

"We are conscious of the impact of closing the pool, and we understand the inconvenience with the heat," he said.

"We did reach the trigger for level 4 restrictions for Bonalbo just before Christmas, but we left it to now to implement so as to not impact residents by closing the pool during the festive season.

"It's not a decision we make lightly and we hope people will understand it in an essential part to addressing the drought situation. We are looking into the option of potentially establishing a bus, once or twice a week to transport people to the Woodenbong pool."

Bonalbo pool season pass holders will be able to use their pass at the Woodenbong pool and for the remainder of this season, at the Kyogle pool. Alternatively, Bonalbo pool season pass holders can request reimbursement of half the cost of the pass.

Council staff will be closely monitoring water usage and consumption in Bonalbo to ensure compliance with the Level 4 restrictions and that water usage reduction targets are achieved.

The water supply that services Urbenville Muli Muli and Woodenbong has recently moved to Level 3 water restrictions for Woodenbong and Muli Muli.

The current storage on the Tooloom Creek is at 40% or around 90Ml, and staff are closely monitoring water usage and consumption rates.

Kyogle will stay on Level 2 restrictions, with the off-stream storage dam 100% full and holding its 200Ml capacity.

The trigger for Level 3 is when the Richmond River ceases to flow at the Geneva Bridge. The current daily flow is around 4Ml per day and dropping.